Women’s cries—and men’s—do arouse

The thirsting thrush of night;

Yet still she swoons, beneath queer skies,

Wild eyes green, alight.

With that bloody pulp, that pap of life,

Naught but thrice bemoaned;

Laid low by space and time and her:

Life’s reticent flow.

Her kinsman I might finger: Death,

Appellation—spiritual—won;

For stone and mortar melt away, at

Her will to be undone.

And flesh and blood and bone, too,

So often rendered thus;

When poor fools—wholly—bind to her,

Desire transcending lust.

She lies upon the new-shorn grass,

Lopes along the sand;

Her shadow marks the starry night,

Drapes across the land.

Here her locks are curly brown,

There her hair straight red;

Here still her ringlets raven, there

Spun-gold upon her head.

What faery-daughter is this, then,

Who strides amongst the dead?

What lithe governess of all dreams

Sundered, and bloodied—red?

In what bleak grotto does she dwell?

How many lost knights there repose?

What soft lies has she promised them, too,

They who forever doze?

The self-same songs she has sung before?

She will surely sing again.

With clotted blood and fever sweet,

Halting the hearts of men.

A word of caution now to you,

Who heedless follow still,

Entranced by her terrible beauty,

And smitten with her will:

Do not go to her rosewood grove!

That shaded, sickly milieu,

Where red-gold leaves speckle furtive soil,

As do darling petals, too.

But though the foliage is warm,

The very air is fraught

With peril countless and dreadful,

In that alluring spot.

Do not be blind to her wiles!

Sweetness—oh fool—beware!

Awake to the fetid, cloying stink,

Or forever linger there.

For in that rosy, shadowed den,

That haunting, golden tomb,

Beneath that rusted earth she sleeps,

And the hearts of men consumes.

And sleeping soundly in the dell,

That lonely, cold hillside,

The empty, hollowed souls of all

Her pitiable fools reside.

And lo! The temptress, sweetest maiden,

Presides o’er all with smile fair,

Atop the dell in her rosewood grove,

Lonely breeze dancing in her hair.

And lo! Warm blood courses down her chin,

Wiped away by fairest hand,

Whilst her piercing gaze, shrewd and sharp,

Scours the imprudent land.

And lo! A fool she will surely find,

And bring under her thrall,

His fate shared with those who’ve gone before,

To the rosewood

That beckons to all.

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Samantha Henry

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